Our waitress couldn’t have been more than 19 years old.
Kim and I were at the least objectionable of the three licensed restaurants at a suburban mall, chosen because it had lots of parking and was equal driving distance for both of us.
The server’s hair was perfect, her thick makeup expertly applied. She was bubbly and enthusiastic – too bubbly and enthusiastic. Her forced cheer made it clear she had us pegged.
Oh God, a couple of moms on the town - poor things. This must be a big night out for them. Better not let them sense my pity or they’ll start acting bitchy.
And I looked across the table at Kim, who I first met almost a dozen years ago when she was a 21-year cocktail waitress and I was bartending at the infamous nightspot in our home town. And something unspoken passed between us.
Kim knew what I wanted to say.
I wanted to say that my best friend and I hadn’t always hemmed and hawed before deciding it would be okay to split a half litre of wine. That we hadn’t always stopped to consider whether a fried appetizer would wreak havoc on our stomachs.
I wanted to say that ten years ago we would have been cracking wise about music and clothes and flirting with the hotties at the bar, not hauling our kids’ pictures out of our wallets and telling story after story about the funny things they said.
I wanted to say that 10 years ago we wouldn’t have planned this night weeks in advance and we wouldn’t have been caught dead in this cheesy bar, in this cheesy mall, no matter how convenient and plentiful its parking.
I wanted to say that 10 years ago I would never have glanced at my watch and winced to see that it was already 9:45 p.m.
But I didn’t say anything. Neither did Kim.
We just smiled at each other. Happy, secure, amused.
Because our waitress couldn’t have been more than 19 years old.
And she couldn’t possibly know that the middle-aged moms splitting an appetizer and a half litre of wine would have given her pert, little ass a run for its money in their day.